Rain reign - For photography enthusiasts
Head to three of Maharashtra's wettest tourist spots to soak in the best of the monsoon clouds
If your interest lies in the little details of nature, Amboli is the place to be. It boats of spectacular amphibian and reptile diversity."All you have to do is walk along the main road and you will spot greenery and forests around you. Amboli is home to the Amboli toad that is found only in this region. The Malabar pit viper, a mildly venomous snake that is not dangerous to humans, is commonly spotted here as well,"informs Prachi Galange, nature interpreter. Also visit the Amboli botanical garden, and in its pond, you can look for Malabar gliding frogs and their tadpoles.
Another interesting frog, Galange adds, is the typewriter frog, which is so called because of the sound it makes. Green vine snakes, geckos and lizards are also common."Amboli is home to the caecilian, or friend of the farmer (Marathi: devgandul), which looks like a mix between a snake and earthworm.
Castlerock night frog
It eats dead leaves and dead matter and converts it into organic matter,"she shares. There are two small plateaus close to Amboli where you can spot small flowering plants, and frogs that are found on plateaus."Book a local guide to show you around. Amboli is famous for its fish and crab fare,"she summarises.
Vine snake. Pics courtesy/Saurabh Sawant
Where to stay: There's an MTDC resort and other hotels.
How to reach: A train or bus ride to Sawantwadi, followed by a local rickshaw ride.
For a wildlife high
A waterfall in Bhimashankar
Bhimashankar is known for the jyotirlingam Shiva temple (one of the twelve), which has an intriguing mythological story of a war between Hindu god Shiva and Bhima, the asura son of Kumbhakarna, Ravana's brother.The temple dates back to the 13th century. Bhimashankar is also a wildlife reserve that is home to Maharashtra's state animal, the Indian giant squirrel (Marathi: shekru)."It's a thick forest that is home to various birds; it offers thrilling trails, and has a waterfall too.
Atlas moth. Pics courtesy/Vandan Jhaveri
It attracts several species of moths during the monsoon. Atlas moth, one of the world's largest moths, is also found here. Some routes are open to all, while a few others are ticketed,"shares naturalist Vandan Jhaveri. Trekkers can also head to Nagfani, to soak in the green views of the area from the top of the mountain.
Indian giant squirrel, also known as Shekru
Where to stay: There is a government-owned forest guest house, and private resorts and hotels too.
How to reach: Via Mumbai Pune Expressway.
For a scenic drive
Bored of the monsoon drives to Lonavala or Pune every year? Head to Tamhini Ghat instead. Located just beyond Mulshi Dam, the route to the ghat is lined with gushing seasonal waterfalls. The road cuts across the Sahyadris. You’ll spot several resorts lined along this ghat. Kundalika River also flows near this ghat.
For those who prefer to rough it out in the outdoors, check for camping options. You will spot several small private-and-state-run eateries that whip up fast food such as vadas and instant noodles or sell fresh fruit. Carry a change of clothes, in case you wish to take a dip in the falls. Various travel companies host adventure sport activities at Plus valley — a scenic attraction for tourists that is located close to the ghat.
Compiled by Dhara Vora Sabhnani
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